There’s an oft repeated myth in popular culture about the cast iron stomachs of goats. Though they’re willing to try plenty of high-roughage foods, they’re not the trash compactors that people imagine them to be. Just like any other animal on your farm, you need to be careful about the type of feed ingredients and supplements you dispense in their trough.
In general, feeding livestock seaweed is safe in the right amounts, but what about for goats? Is an all-natural seaweed feed supplement good for their overall health and production? Here’s what you need to know before you go about feeding kelp to goats.
Any way that you can enhance the immune response of your livestock can help to not only reduce their overall health risks, but any risk to the people who consume them or their products. Commercial farms have often tried to treat or prevent diseases with antibiotic regimens, but this practice has backfired, creating some fearsome and resilient microbes that do excess harm.
In the hopes of fighting harmful microbes and averting super bugs, some sustainable farmers have opted to provide their goats with prebiotic-rich feed supplements like seaweed. When good gut microbes have access to prebiotics found in Ascophyllum nodosum, their populations flourish and make it difficult for harmful bacteria and microbes to establish themselves in the GI tract.
Research using our seaweed products reinforces this understanding. In a trial program over a two week period, 32 bucks were split into two groups, one that was fed completely with alfalfa and the other which was fed 60% alfalfa pellets and 40% Tasco® feed supplements. The goats were then divided again into one group that was washed with chlorinated water prior to stunning and bleeding and another group that was left unwashed. Testing showed that those goats that were spray washed and fed our Ascophyllum nodosum feed supplement had the lowest occurrences of E. coli on their skin of the group. Better yet, the ph of the goats’ rumen and the rumen VFA levels were not impacted by our all-natural supplement.
Climate change is set to impact the health and wellbeing of animals all over the globe. Everything from size and heat regulation to production and fertility can drop as the temperature climbs to unsafe levels. The good news is that farmers can combat some of these ill effects when they provide their goats with the right nutrients, enhancing their livestock’s constitution and resiliency with a simple free choice mix.
In the past, we’ve covered some of the studies into using seaweed to overcome the challenges of heat stress in dairy cows, and goats appear to receive benefits as well. A study outlined in the Texas Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources explored the impact of Tasco® on young male goats during an 84-day period where temperatures averaged between 89.7° F and 100° F. Goats that received a free-choice, high-energy diet with Tasco® supplementation had a higher sperm cell concentration despite their marginally increased body temperature during this timeframe. This can result in fewer disruptions in animal reproduction.